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The Village Idiot

When the Money runs outÖ

Jack Deatherage, Jr.

"I have a daughter in her last year of college and this little one (a preschooler.) Do you know why my children are so far apart in age?" The woman wanted to tell me her story. Some days I should just go home and not talk to people I donít already know.

The woman had been introduced to me as the girlfriend of one of my old buds. He told me she was living in a state funded housing project, receiving food stamps and medical care. He had moved in with her and was living well enough on his paycheck (he was making more than twice my weekly take home.) He said the biggest problem with the arrangement was having to gather up his clothes and "move out" every month when the state sent an inspector around to make sure everyone was living in the proper level of poverty.

He thought it was hilarious he was living comfortably at the taxpayersí expense. Him, I understood. I didnít like it, but I got it. He was getting one over on the rest of us. Couldnít fault him for that at the time. Most of his paycheck went for alcohol and recreational drugs, as mine used to, before I decided to make a family and take on the responsibility of answering to, and for, others.

She was enlightenment. Iíd never talked to a welfare mom.

"I got pregnant before I finished high school. I left home and went on welfare and have been there ever since." She proudly told me. "Iíve never had to work a day in my life."

I told her I didnít think it was fair that Iíd started working during the summers before I finished high school and had been at it ever since, paying taxes all along. I couldnít get pregnant, but maybe I should find a woman willing to let me live with her while she drew welfare checks from those foolish enough to work and pay taxes.

"Oh no! You were dumb enough to start working right out of high school. You have to keep working because youíre already accustom to doing it!"

I allowed she looked as if she could work in the factory I worked in.

"Oh no! Iím accustom to this lifestyle and it wouldnít be fair to force me to start working this late in my life! (She was in her 30s.) People like you have to support me! Itís only fair."

The conversation went on, but I canít repeat anymore. Suffice it to say, we did not part as friends. Iíd like to meet her college-graduated daughter though. Iím curious how she turned out.

A few years later I met a fellow who had grown up on welfare. He too was an enlightenment.

"My father had been killed during WWII. Mom wasnít able to take a job and raise us kids so she went on welfare." The man told me. "She wasnít happy about it, but it put a roof over our heads, food in ours bellies and we were grateful for it. None of us kids went on welfare, and none of our children, nor grandchildren have. We got together and bought Mom a nice house. Sheís no longer on welfare either."

Another woman on welfare tells me she wants to work, is constantly applying for work, but canít find a job that pays better than welfare. She has health problems and is on medical disability. "Jack, you know me, you know I hate being on welfare. But everywhere I go Iím told the same thing. ĎYou should take advantage of the system.í

Iím so angry no one will hire me. I want to work! I can work. This isnít right!"

For the longest time Iíve wondered about these welfare people Iíve talked to. Why do some of them abuse the welfare safety net, by turning it into a hammock, while others manage to join the rest of us after being briefly aided by the system? And why would anyone, especially a private sector employer, encourage someone to seek welfare?

I think the problems with the welfare system are the voters.

Back in the 1980s one of the weekly news rags reported that 55% of all paychecks were drawn at the taxpayersí expense. Meaning government employees at all levels from towns, townships, counties, states, federal, military and those in the private sector who worked for companies contracted to the various governments. Couple that with the people on welfare, disability and Social Security, and it is little wonder this country is no longer a meritocracy, if it ever was. The vast majority of voters depend on some form of government for their livelihoods!

Which brings to mind a question I was recently asked. When happens when the Government runs out of other peoplesí money to give away?

Of a personal note, I was recently told I should go on unemployment as itís paying more than I am currently earning working part-time. When I complained that doing such went against the grain, that I see unemployment as the next welfare entitlement, I was told Iím an idiot for not taking advantage of the government cash giveaway while I can.

When I argued the money is coming from my child and his future childrensí earnings I was told it doesnít matter. I had paid into the system and I should take as much of it back as I can get.

The Founding Fathers warned the people would lose their freedoms if they were not vigilant. And Iím an idiot?

Read other articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.